Lettuce once again flaunts their funky prowess, proving they can take the form of any sub genre of funk on the planet. Each of these tracks nods to an iconic genre, idea or artist that have breathed life into the sounds we love today. Listeners will find an ode to pivotal musicians like Ndugu Chancler, famous studio drummer, to features with Big Tony Fisher of Trouble Funk. This is a very special collection that could not have come at a better time.
The album kicks off with three classically funky instrumentals, chock full of memorable hornlines, flavorful solos, and a stupendous production value. “Blaze,” “Good Morning Mr. Smink” and “NDUGU” are all snappy, precise and detailed tracks, sure to light a fire under your ass. Listeners will feel and hear quintessential flavors from the founding mothers and fathers of funk. Not too much flair, just a steady flow of good music.
Then “Checker Wreckers” comes barreling through the door with a heavy footed beat accompanied by Big Tony Fisher’s gravely, hype lyrics. It’s easily the most powerful song on the album and is without a doubt, a key track. Nobody quite knows what a Checker Wrecker is, but who cares, it’s fun to say.
One of their more adventurous funk fusion attempts is “Moksha,” where Lettuce presents their usual grooves and beats while award winning sitarist, Indrajit Banerjee, laces some electrified sitar throughout the track. Everyone comes together to share the space of the track, while still seamlessly blending the two genres together. It’s an incredible feat considering how the two genres could not be more different.
‘Remember The Children” is a near perfect cover of Earth, Wind and Fire’s 1972 hit. An untrained ear would genuinely not be able to tell the difference between this and movements from the original track. (Obviously, Lettuce put some of their own person flair in their version.) There was never a doubt that the funk outfit was talented or not, but this takes a level of dedication and perfectionism that must be admired – especially when a song like this has so many different elements of instrumentation.
It’s a shame Lettuce won’t be able to flaunt their new album in a live setting for some time due to recent events, but that won’t stop fans from breaking it down in their living rooms. Lettuce is doing their part to help our first responders and medical care workers. Fans can buy Lettuce branded masks, and when they do, Lettuce will donate a mask to healthcare systems in need. Take your favorite bands, take care of those on the front lines of this pandemic, and take care of yourselves.
Key Tracks: NDUGU, Checker Wrecker, Remember the Children